Since its beginning in 1986, the ARC has always been about providing a framework to make the Atlantic passage to the Caribbean safer and more enjoyable for cruising sailors. World Cruising Club has been examining how to deliver the ARC this year and how the rally could be adapted to offer a COVID secure event that provides the key element of a safer passage to the Caribbean.
Since the global lock-downs in began in March, ARC organisers World Cruising Club (WCC) have been in regular contact with our partners in host countries Spain, Saint Lucia and Cape Verde. Restrictions on movement, social mixing and international travel have now been eased in Spain, whilst in the Caribbean, countries are putting protocols in place to allow tourists to return. The momentum is towards normalisation, even if the detail of the restrictions likely to be in place in November are not yet known. World Cruising Club are now confident that Gran Canaria will be ready to welcome ARC sailors in November.
Whilst Saint Lucia is keen to welcome the ARC, the authorities there have not yet formalised COVID protocols for arriving yachts. As at 30-Jun-2020 it is not yet possible to confirm that Saint Lucia will be the Caribbean landfall for the ARC this year. In addition, WCC may be required to have more than one arrival destination to reduce numbers in any one location. ARC participants are strongly advised not to book any flights or hotels or make other logistics arrangements involving the finish destination until after the next ARC update on 31-Jul-2020.
Staying COVID Secure
World Cruising Club is working on their plan to deliver a COVID secure rally and the safety of their participants, staff and third parties is of paramount importance to them and will be considered in everything WCC does.
ARC and ARC+ crews will be subject to the in-country COVID regulations in force at the time of the rallies, which may be subject to change at short notice. Rules on social distancing and limits on group gatherings, which may differ between countries, will be reflected in the detailed programme and guidance to skippers provided nearer the start dates.
For yachts on ARC+ there is a possibility that closer to the start date it becomes apparent that the stop in Cape Verde is not possible for a variety of COVID related reasons. Those participating on this route are therefore strongly advised not to plan any crew changes in Cape Verde.
Key COVID Secure Elements:
Three Groups – to ease pressure on shore-side facilities, and make social distancing easier within the marina, the ARC will be split into 3 groups, with an additional start date added.
|ARC+ ||08 November |
All ARC+ Boats
|ARC (Direct) Group A ||15 November||(provisional: Cruising/Open Division monohulls, less than 18.30m/60ft LOA)|
Caribbean Arrival Destination - to reduce crew numbers arriving close together into one island, we may be required to use multiple destinations for landfall in the Caribbean; a further announcement about this will be made by 31st July 2020.
Limited Entries – each group will be restricted to a maximum of 90 boats, possibly fewer.
Social Distancing – the programme is being adapted to maintain social distancing with briefings and information provided online where possible. Any live briefings held will be restricted, allowing the smaller participant numbers in each group to be placed further apart.
Health Monitoring - whilst part of the rally we will require skippers and crew to act responsibly, and for skippers to take additional measures above the usual welfare of the yacht and crew. These will include daily temperature checks before departure and at sea. It is likely that all participants will be required to undergo COVID testing and self-isolation prior to departure. Arrangements have been made with a private clinic in Las Palmas to facilitate this.
Hygiene - we will be following best practice for hygiene within the rally framework, and reminding crews of appropriate measures, including use of hand-gels, masks where appropriate, and limiting physical contact.
Get Ready to Rally!
After months of uncertainty both for participants and the ARC team, World Cruising Club is now pleased to be able to confirm the start of ARC and ARC+ and the ARC team are looking forward to meeting all the ARC/ARC+ crews in Las Palmas in November.